Boosting Enthusiasm for Family Programs and Processes


It can be really frustrating when siblings, parents and cousins don’t share your enthusiasm for developing a learning culture in families. What to do? How about putting more focus on "task significance." 

In the business world, task significance is defined as the extent to which a job (positively) affects others. Employees who are told "do this work because it could create new therapies for saving lives" will see more task significance, and perform better, than employees who are told "just do this work."

We’re assuming here that employees actually care about saving lives. And why do they care? Because it’s something that is core to their humanity. Because it’s one of their values. 

The logic chain is: 

  1. Find a value that people really care about ("saving lives"). 
  2. Make a link between this value and what they can achieve from their work ("create new therapies for saving lives"). 
  3. Assert the importance of the work ("do this work because it could create new therapies for saving lives"). 

Applying this to family programs and processes: 

  1. Find a value that resonates with family members (such as "increasing the well-being of people you love"). 
  2. Make a link between this value and what they can achieve from the program ("discover new strategies for increasing the well-being of people you love"). 
  3. Assert the importance of the program ("do this program to discover new strategies for increasing the well-being of people you love"). 

As you think through the logic chain there are some hard questions: 

  • To what extent is there a set of values shared by family members? Maybe some people don’t believe it’s any of their business to try to increase the wellbeing of others (or "interfere with them" / "meddle in their lives").  
  • How do the shared values rank in terms of priority? Even if people share values, they may be so busy with emergencies in their lives that other values have become much more important to them.  
  • Ithe family program genuinely driven by shared values? Maybe the program has a "hidden" agenda that is self-seeking. There needs to be a clear, robust link between the program and the values. 

Once you’ve worked through these questions, and you’re confident of why a program / process is important, you’ll be in good shape to enthuse yourself and others. Remember: values don’t just guide behaviorthey also activate willpower and generate energy!  

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